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The Right to Vote Should Be Restricted to Those with Knowledge

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The Right to Vote Should Be Restricted to Those with Knowledge


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It’s been said that democracy is where any two idiots can outvote a genius. Should that change?

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  • Innovative


Jason Brennan – a professor of strategy, economics, ethics, and public policy at Georgetown University – reflects on the benefits of limiting the right to vote to knowledgeable, well-informed people. He examines the inherent flaws of democracy and suggests “epistocracy” as an alternative. Brennan fails to address some of the disadvantages of the system he commends: Would people really accept the legitimacy of a government that they weren’t allowed to elect? Still, getAbstract recommends this provocative essay as food for thought for democracy enthusiasts and skeptics.


Power in the hands of an elite leads to gains for a few at the top for which the rest must pay. Yet, if power is in the hands of the masses, individual input has less impact, and people “remain ignorant and misinformed.” Representative democracy mitigates this problem with checks and balances, independent judiciaries, bills of rights and elected legislatures that hold leaders responsible. For the most part, this system is successful: People in democracies tend to enjoy higher standards of living. But a different system could keep...

About the Author

Jason Brennan is an associate professor at Georgetown University and specializes in politics, philosophy and economics. He is the author of numerous books, among them Against Democracy.

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    A. J. 5 years ago
    Who gets to lay out the standard of knowledge given that current systems are inherently corruptible (evil intent aside) due to the DNA corruption inherent in those devising it?

    Thus, how transparent and "true" could the process for this to ever occur be?
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    M. S. 6 years ago
    His idea is provocative but nevertheless, holds some truth. But how do the "elite" know the problems of the less educated society? How will you ensure empathy?

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